“Kitty City Takes Over Flux Factory”
By ALICE PERRY
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Behind a rust-colored garage door of a squat redbrick building, a city was born last weekend. This was no replica or model metropolis. This was a full-blown city. Its name was Kitty City. And its denizens were all of the feline persuasion.
The architects behind this Meowtropolis were all of the human persuasion: artists and children who participated in four weekly workshops at Flux Factory, an artist collective in Long Island City. Working as a team, the kids and artists designed and built this—dare we say—purr-fect paradise by studying cats’ behavior and needs, creating models of homes, and then drawing “blueprints.”
Using all reused materials, the children and artists built ramps and walkways for the cats to prowl, open-roofed dollhouses to hide in, gigantic spools of rope to scratch, and Mardi-Gras beads to swat—along with plenty of litter boxes. Kitty City took up about a third of the first floor of Flux Factory, located in an old greeting card factory.
At the unveiling last Saturday, the mini-city planners were given the esteemed honor of cutting the ceremonious ribbon. Then these future Robert Moseses and Jane Jacobses stormed their creation searching for kitties, all of whom were available for free adoption, thanks to For Animals, a no-kill animal shelter in South Ozone Park.
Fortunately, more than half the cats were adopted because the figurative wrecking ball came the next day, and Kitty City was declawed and dismantled. But don’t worry: Flux Factory Executive Director Christina Vassallo foresees more kid-centric events in the organization’s future.
“This is really our first large-scale project for kids,” Vassallo says. “We’re an artist residency, and we all teach on the side, so we want to bring that into our programming.”
Some future projects may include transforming an abandoned lot in Queens into a public arts or play area. In the meantime, Flux Factory hosts a monthly potluck dinner and art salon, where artists give presentations on their work and families can share their favorite dish.